Friday, October 8, 2010

Student support brings back UT campus early voting location

University of Texas-Pan American student leaders worried that closing a campus polling site would prevent many of their peers from voting.

However, due in part to overwhelming support from UTPA students, faculty and staff, it’s not a scenario they’ll have to contemplate any longer. Under a new agreement, the Hidalgo County Elections Department will reinstate an early-voting polling location on the UTPA campus that was cut last month due to county budget constraints and low voter turnout in March. In addition, the county has offered to host a similar site at South Texas College’s Pecan Campus.

Keeping a polling location on the UTPA campus will boost turnout among students who often don’t have time to leave the university between classes and have busy work schedules when off campus, said Amber Arriaga, a past president of the Hidalgo County Young Democrats.

University President Robert Nelsen, who called the county’s elected officials in a push to get the site restored, said he would work with Hidalgo County to make the university a permanent site. Beyond being convenient for students, he views it as a teaching tool.

“It isn’t natural to go vote. You have to learn it,” Nelsen said. “If it’s there (on campus), and you vote for the first time, it’s a real learning experience.”(Continue reading this story.)

To learn more about voting as a student in your state, visit the Brennan Center's interactive online student voting map.


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